The six world powers and Iran on Tuesday agreed to continue their talks, with experts from both the sides scheduled to discuss the proposed solutions to the nuclear stalemate giving hope for a political settlement.

Addressing separate press conferences late Tuesday after the conclusion of two days of talks in Moscow European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who led the 5+1 delegation of world powers, and Secretary of Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili, who led the Iranian delegation, said Iran and the international negotiators would hold the next meeting at the level of experts on July 3 to evaluate the proposals on the table.

After the expert meeting Ms. Ashton and Mr. Jalili agreed to meet to decide on whether there was enough common ground for resuming the talks.

“What we did today was to decide on the right way to go forward,” she said. “For the first time we had some real discussion on the need to grapple with technical details of the problem.”

“Experts will consider the framework for harmonising the proposals put forward by the two sides,” said the Iranian chief negotiator. “This process may lead to positive results.”

Russia’s Interfax news agency reported earlier that the next round is likely to be held in Beijing. Iranian sources said Kazakhstan was also being considered.

Common approach

The Russian and American Presidents, Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama, sent a positive signal to the Moscow talks by emphasising a common approach to Iran.

“We agreed that there’s still time and space to resolve diplomatically the issue of Iran’s potential development of nuclear weapons, as well as its interest in developing peaceful nuclear power,” Mr. Obama said at the meeting with Mr. Putin on the sidelines of a G-20 summit in Mexico on Monday.

At the Moscow talks the sides basically set forth their respective positions. The West wants Iran to “stop, shut and ship,” as a Western diplomat put it, referring to demands for Iran to stop producing high-grade uranium, to ship its enriched uranium out of the country and to close down the enrichment facility at Fordo. Iran said it could agree to scale back its enrichment from 20 per cent to about 3.5 or 5 per cent if world powers lift sanctions against it and provide it with 20 per cent enriched fuel for its reactors.

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